The Reimagining Initiative, born out of a Board Resolution to Reimagine and Reinvent Santa Fe Public Schools, is at its 6-month point. A Reimaging SFPS Steering Committee (RSC) was appointed to represent various District stakeholders including parents, community members, faculty/staff, union representation and others. The steering committee meets once a month; and formed two subcommittees with a focus on: communications and policy.
The RSC works on addressing equity, the holistic needs of students and families, with a particular focus on student engagement, the needs of our Indigenous families and students, and looking at research of best practices and national efforts on reimagining America’s public schools.
The work of the RSC is based on three parts: inquiry (gathering input from stakeholders via surveys, focus groups, and polling), research of best practices, and making policy and administrative-focused recommendations. The Phase 1a Inquiry stage of the work began with a large survey of stakeholders who were asked four questions: What’s Working? What’s Not Working? How Would You Like Things to Be? And What’s Getting in the Way? The results of this initial survey are now available online at www.sfps.info click on the Reimagining SFPS webpage. One important finding was that many of our stakeholders are unaware or misinformed about programming and services in our District. There are a myriad of programs and options available for our students therefore, improving communication is crucial so that stakeholders are better informed of the programs, services, and options currently available.
The website also includes an update on the RSC’s work on Inquiry Phase 1b where initial focus group work has begun specifically with students, Indigenous students/families, some parents who are choosing non-SFPS middle school options as well as initial conversations with middle school teachers.
Because the process in which the RSC is engaged is dynamic, there will not be a single final report with all of the recommendations presented at the end of the process. Rather, recommendations for administrative action and board policies will be forthcoming coming over the next several months. The Board will follow its usual process for advertising and garnering input on policy recommendations; the communications committee will work to ensure that various stakeholders are kept informed and aware of what is coming forward and the process to give input.
Policies that are being considered thus far based on input from focus group work includes but is not limited to: student engagement, addressing the needs of Indigenous families and students, and a resolution addressing student instruction and grading. The RSC has made a significant effort to start with the holistic needs of students and how SFPS can better meet their needs while looking at crucial factors such as: declining enrollment, age of facilities, declining birth rates, why are families choosing other educational options and looking at ways to better retain and recruit students. Likewise, talent management and the recruitment and retention of staff must continue to be addressed.
Another area that has surfaced as part of the inquiry process is educational programming and delivery of instruction in the middle grades (6-8). The RSC will likely recommend the creation of a district study group to look at creative solutions for these key grades over the next school year.
In the RSC’s effort to continue to engage stakeholders in the Inquiry 1b process, community members will have multiple opportunities via focus groups for input to contribute their “Big Idea” for Reimagining SFPS. These opportunities will be afforded by open invitations to participate in focus group discussions which will be offered virtually and face-to-face. There will be options to participate by topic for example: out of school time, high school programming, magnet programs, etc. or by stakeholder group, e.g., parents, community partners, SFPS staff and more. Additional information on how to get involved is coming soon.
All information and input will be collected and analyzed for the RSC to prioritize initiatives for the Board and Superintendent’s consideration. If you have something you would like for us to know please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org We hope you will join us on this journey of Reimagining Santa Fe Public Schools!